[Column] Fleur Willemijn van Beinum: How to make a podcast
No need to explain the popularity of podcasts. Education becomes entertainment, anytime, anywhere, while you do something else. Actually, podcasts are nothing new, the first dates from 2004.
As the origin of this type of broadcasting comes from a passion and not a commercial perspective, podcasts are all about sharing knowledge, experiences, insights, and visions. It is about the content and not the euros. It gives you a stage to go full-blown nerdy on your niche. A unique way to build a relationship with your audience in their own personal time. 'Your podcast is selected by themselves to be consumed at a scarce and valuable moment of their not-working time.' This side effect is creating a community of like-minded listeners. Up to you to set up and use the feedback loop for inspiration or for new episodes.
Requirements for success
Almost every brand is jumping on the bandwagon of podcasts. How do you create your own podcast and have an impact?
- Find your niche. Set your strategy and define your topic and sub-topics in line with your brand and values. Claim your leadership and display a different sound. Publish your own sonic magazine.
- Have one ‘golden nugget’ per episode. Meaning, one topic. And give a heads up on the catch in the intro so your listeners know what to expect.
- As all content, a podcast must add value for the listener. Why should your audience listen, what is in it for them. Keep in mind, people don’t like to be marketed. The podcast is not about you, it is about sharing knowledge, experiences, or to entertain.
- Have a logical fit with your content on your website. Even better, provide some long read background information to create a consistent experience and emphasize your leadership claim.
- Stick to a format. Steal with pride and cherry-pick what works to create your own format. Do a few dry-runs, test it, ask your listeners for feedback, and improve continuously. Great read on formats, unfortunately only in Dutch available.
- Create a detailed playbook. It becomes easier to stick to your format and to speed up the production. Start with the preparation of the episode, how to invite guests, and prepare them, up till the end of the evaluation of recording and the feedback from listeners and the guests.
- Set up your distribution using your own channels, your guests, your employees, and the obvious podcast channels. Also think about partnerships with thought leaders in your industry, such as a marketing blog or publisher.
- When developing the format, keep all distribution channels in mind. Meaning, make sure you can cut sound snippets or use written quotes to be used in social for the seeding.
- Create an introduction champaign. The first impression counts and there is only one opportunity to launch.
- Yet, give it time. Creating an audience and build your listener base takes time. A podcast is not a campaign asset, it is part of your long term content strategy.
- Circle back around and close the loop. Get feedback from your listeners and guests for new topics and episodes. With your podcast you create a community of like-minded people, use that for inspiration and ideation.
- Have fun! It is always nicer to listen to people who are passionate and who have fun, instead of taking themselves overly seriously.
- Last requirement. ‘A job well done speaks for itself’, there is absolutely no need to have your own commercial sh*t in the podcast. If you really really need to, do it where your listens expect it. In the intro when it is easy to skip. Or even better, at the end. Please don’t have any call to actions or ‘subscribe now’s in the middle of the script. Rule of thumb, don’t mention it more than two times.
I repeat... Don’t use a podcast as a disguised way to promote your product or brand. People listen to a podcast to be entertained and educated, not to be marketed to. No exceptions.
Business case and costs
The business case of a podcast is simple. Don’t expect to generate direct sales. There is no direct attribution. You create reach by sharing your knowledge and insights that add value for your listeners. And you claim your leadership along the way.
Be there for the really long term to see a revenue. That's why you need to spend serious time on your strategy and map out your topics.
As goes for all content: the more effort you invest on the strategy, you more effective and efficient you can produce the actual assets.
Take your time to develop your strategy, set up the format, and define the topics. My gut feeling, you should spend a minimal two months figuring out the details and to do a dry-run. The rule of thumb for the topics, create a list of about 25 to ensure that long term commitment.
Once you have that in place you can produce fast with a short time to market.
Credits where credits due, all insights on podcasts are co-created with Wayne Parker Kent
Fleur Willemijn van Beinum is an experienced Content and Social Media Strategist with a proven track record for over 35 top notch clients.
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